Edited: Please note that this is not intended to be a post about mental illness. It is a post about letting outside critical voices in. I take mental health issues very seriously, and would never imply that serious struggles with depression or other mental illness can be dealt with simply deciding not to feel that way.
You have a space that is yours and yours alone. It's the one behind your eyes, between your ears, smashed into a relatively small, gloopy mess of gray matter but able to extend beyond yourself, beyond your life, into the very universe. It can absorb anything it is presented with. It can learn to think and speak in other languages--math, art, storytelling, movement--and it can learn how to think outside of itself.
You sometimes rent that space out to other people for fun things, like music or movies or books or opinions, things that in their own way expand the space and make room for new ways to decorate it.
But occasionally something slips in, destructive, seeping, something that collapses your space in around itself until it is small and huddled, looking inward instead of outward.
These aren't renters so much as squatters. They sneak in when you aren't paying attention, and then they stay, refusing to leave, sneering at your attempts to reason with them. You feel powerless and small, realizing that this space you thought was yours is so easy to violate.
The voices dominating the space, ringing around in it, are not your own, but that makes them all the more powerful, louder still. And the very worst ones, the cruelest and hardest to ignore, sometimes sound just like you.
Kick them the crap out.
There are no eviction laws for your head, no waiting periods, no termination notices. If a voice takes a space in your head and fills you with ugliness or doubt or pain--no matter what the source of that voice is--TAKE BACK THAT SPACE. Banish that voice forever. You don't have to let it live there. If you need help, don't be afraid or ashamed to get it.
I think we forget how much permission we give to those voices in our heads, how sometimes we even seek them out. We invite them in, we waive our pre-qualification form, we discount the rent. We ask them to sit down for tea, and we know--we know--how we will feel as they slowly begin to poison the tea, smash our prettiest service set, and tear down our inner spaces until everything we've built feels small and ugly and worthless.
Yet we invite them in time and again. Why do we do that?
In the new year, take stock of the space in your head. Decide which areas need emptying, which ones need redecorating, which ones delight you to dwell in.
And remember: that space is yours. Raise the rent on it. You're worth it.